At an early age, Steve Just was taught the value of a dollar and the meaning of hard work. “My parents certainly provided me with the necessities of life but if I wanted something just for me, then I was expected to pay for it. I had to work hard and earn my own money,” he said.
While Steve was born in Vancouver, his parents were German immigrants who came to Canada in the early fifties to start over. “They came to Canada with five dollars in their pocket and a desire to make a fresh start. To this day, my extended family has never left Germany; my parents were the only ones to venture out and this was a bit of an issue in their family,” he explained.
His father had a background in electronics so after settling in Vancouver, he opened up a television sales and service shop on Main Street. Eventually, he got out of the business and began working as a baker with Canada Safeway, something that he did until he passed away.
Steve enjoyed sports immensely and was a top member of the football team but in as much as he enjoyed athletics; he obviously inherited the techy gene from his father, given that he was always tinkering with computers. While still a student, he began working for his high school’s audio visual department. “I worked in the evenings for them and they paid me $14/hr. to run all of their audio visual equipment whenever someone rented the school. This was really good money for a high school kid,” he chuckled.
After graduating from high school, unsure of what he wanted to pursue, Steve landed a job with Weston Bakery, making $24/hr. “This was the early 90s and I was making a great wage for an eighteen year old kid,” he laughed. Three years later, the bakery went on strike and they eventually closed it down and relocated it. Steve was out of a job. “By the time they closed down the bakery, I was making $27/hr. and at eighteen, was the youngest person to have been made a foreman,” he said.
By this time, Steve had determined that he wanted a career in the film industry and began attending a video and film production school in Vancouver. He didn’t have a chance to finish film school because he developed type 1 diabetes and this turned his life upside down. “From what I know, no one else in my family has type 1 diabetes but I ended up with it. I was terribly sick and this really changed my life,” he admitted.
The onset of diabetes necessitated a change in course so rather than video and film, Steve got into food management by taking on a job as an assistant manager at Burger King. Given that he was clearly taught the value of hard work at an early age, coupled with a natural ability to be an effective leader, he was customer service driven, motivated, proactive, determined, and dedicated, it was no wonder that other restaurants began to recruit him and each time he moved on it was for a far higher salary and position. “I worked for Wendys, Panago, Starbucks, Red Robin and Milestones at a corporate level,” he said. He was living on adrenaline. Steve became more and more successful. The more successful that he became, the harder and longer he worked. The only thing that he was missing was a little balance in his life. The hard work paid off but this also caused the diabetes to fight back with a vengeance, halting what appeared to be a promising life-long career.
He was forced to take time off and reassess his life. If he was to survive, he had to make some fast decisions. It didn’t take long before he determined that he had to give up a career in fast food management. After all, he had always tinkered with computers on the side and this seemed like a more manageable career, given his health concerns. “I met my wife on-line and from the get go we were perfect for one another. I was living in Kitsilano and she was in Chilliwack. She encouraged me to go to school so for two years I took computer courses at UCFV and then spent another year at Vancouver Career College in Burnaby,” he said. During this time, he also created his own company Tek Solutions Canada, although it sat on the backburner until after he graduated.
With his certifications in hand, Steve started his home based business. He vowed to sell only quality products and service became his biggest asset. The company grew quickly and the success forced him to move from his home to a location behind Ricky’s Restaurant. “We were there for six years but the business grew yet again so we had to move. We are now located in the Canadian Tire mall,” he said.
Steve has remained leading edge in terms of technology and he has always provided fair and reliable service. “When you work hard and earn people’s trust, the word spreads. I provide in-home service and I like to give people options. If it makes more sense to get something elsewhere, I tell the customer that. If they need help, I’m a good trouble shooter and don’t mind giving anyone advise,” he said plainly.
Today, while he admits that he still holds a passion for the fast food industry, he recognizes that he is where he needs to be. “I love technology too and my diabetes is now well controlled and I find that I can manage it a lot better.”